Detecting and Monitoring Wildfire from Space
Martin Langer1, Sebastian Wuerl1, Rupert Amann1, Lucas Krempel1, Florian Mauracher1, Thomas Gruebler1
1 OroraTech GmbH, St.-Martin-Str. 112, 81669 Munich
Wildfires heavily contribute to global warming as they emit tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, up to 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions yearly. Estimates by the UN project a global increase of extreme fires of up to 14 per cent by 2030, and 30 per cent by the end of 2050 . Climate change and land-use change accelerates this development, making wildfires more frequent and intense in the future. This could dangerously affect the delicate global balance between CO2 emissions and sinks and become part of a vicious cycle that is no longer local, but global. Emissions by wildfires will increase climate change and extreme weather conditions and vice versa.
OroraTech is developing an end-to-end solution that strongly addresses this problem on a global scale. Our current wildfire service aggregates 21 satellite data sources in thermal-infrared on a global scale, standing out in comparison to existing publicly available downstream service solutions. Data fusion with local sensors and overlays for weather and terrain data further enhance the value added for the users. As a result, detection times are lower, and monitoring capabilities are higher than in other options.
The wildfire product is currently used by different customer groups (fire services, commercial forestry sector, insurer) around the globe. One of the most critical improvements requested is to provide satellite data at local afternoon times, where a gap in current data exists and the wildfire intensity peaks. We intend to close this gap with a so-called minimum viable constellation of nanosatellites, placed in a sun-synchronous orbit at local afternoon time.
Complementing existing satellite data sources by our nanosatellites will increase the quality of detection, the revisit rate, and the monitoring capabilities and broaden our portfolio use-cases in more detail. The insights produced by the data, provided either through our proprietary platform or through an API, could also revolutionize areas like insurance, disaster management (wildfires, volcanoes), water management & urban heat mapping, agriculture, disease mapping and monitoring of industrial risks, like air pollution and oil spills.
 United Nations Environment Programme (2022). Spreading like Wildfire – The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires. A UNEP Rapid Response Assessment. Nairobi